The Chamber Chorus particularly invites inquiries from Altos at this time. For information about an audition, please call 636-458-4343.
If you enjoy singing a cappella music in a wide range of styles, if you relish the prospect of singing in one of the Midwest's most prestigious choral ensembles, if you welcome the challenge of performing extraordinary repertoire in some of St. Louis's finest public buildings, then the Chorus is for you. Prior experience of choral singing is essential, and you must be able to read music.
When you are prepared for an audition, please call the Chorus Office at (636) 458-4343 to register your interest. The Executive Director will mail you an information package and biographical questionnaire, and will contact you prior to the next round of auditions to schedule your appointment.
Every member must audition for each season in May or early June; there are no guaranteed places. The current allocation is 16 sopranos, 12 altos, 8 tenors and 12 basses. Any spaces not filled in the annual auditions are available at later sessions.
Auditions take place at regular intervals throughout the year to fill any permanent vacancies and to maintain a roster of alternate/substitute singers. These are generally held in the late afternoon and evening of Tuesdays and Fridays, the morning and early afternoon of Saturdays, and the afternoon of Sundays.
Auditions are generally conducted in Ladue at St. Peter's (Episcopal) Church, at Ladue and North Warson Roads, in the Choir Room on the east side of the building.
Candidates are asked to prepare two songs, one of which must be in a foreign language of their own choosing (Latin is satisfactory), anything from hymn tune to aria, from folk melody to popular song. Existing full members of the Chorus are required to sing only one song. You may not be asked to sing both selections in their entirety, but obviously you must be prepared to do so. Although you are not required to memorize the songs, you should select pieces you are familiar with, and which demonstrate the natural timbre and range of your voice. You will be penalized if you are unable to perform these pieces correctly.
Vocal Range and Agility
You will be allowed to demonstrate breath control, volume and the range of your voice. This will be effected with some simple exercises.
Generally each candidate will be given two pieces which reflect the diverse repertoire of the Chorus. These will test your sense of pitch and rhythm and your capacity for self-correction. Very few people regard sight reading as their strength, but it is an essential attribute in a choir which performs unfamiliar music on a limited number of rehearsals. Understand, however, that while you will be only too aware of your shortcomings, those conducting the audition will be looking for what you CAN do, and will provide much help.
You will be allocated a twenty minute audition by the Executive Director; however, it is wise to arrive five minutes prior to your time since you will have a standard biographical form to complete and you may need some time to compose yourself before singing. You should be advised that there are few facilities for warm-ups at either audition venue. Auditions can over-run, and you should be prepared for your audition to be slightly delayed - a waiting area is provided.
You must bring two copies of your chosen selection(s), in addition to the copy you will be using for performance. These are for the use of the two people conducting the audition, the Artistic Director (or Assistant Conductor) and the Accompanist.
Note: You do not need to provide your own accompanist or pre-recorded accompaniment.
You may bring a music resumé; include a standard photograph if available.
Who Attends the Audition?
Generally auditions are conducted by the Artistic Director or his assistant, and accompanied by the Chorus Accompanist. Auditions are conducted in private, and guests and tape recorders are not permitted.
Is There a Charge for the Audition?
Unlike many other professional choral ensembles, we do not charge for an audition. However it is important to note that the Chorus must pay for the services of those conducting the audition, and those candidates who fail to keep their appointment are expected to compensate the organization appropriately: the current fee is $20, payable in advance. Twenty-four hours' notice is required for cancellation. An applicant who has previously auditioned for the Chorus but then not accepted our offer is expected to compensate the organization for the repeat audition: the current fee is $20, payable in advance.
When Are the Audition Results Available?
Decisions are generally not made until the end of the particular audition cycle. You will be informed by email shortly afterwards. If you are offered a place, you are asked to reply by return email. Failure to respond may cause your place to be offered to another singer.
What Are the Possible Results of an Audition?
Full Place – This involves participation in all programs of the Chorus. If necessary, you may miss one program per season. You are paid a fee to perform in all but one program which is treated as a 'benefit performance.'
Alternate Place – This involves substituting for a full member in a single program - at the invitation of the Artistic Director - and attendance at the rehearsals only for that particular program. You are paid a fee to perform (unless the program is the annual 'benefit performance').
Understudies – One alternate per voice part may be invited to understudy each concert. Understudies attend all rehearsals, and are paid if called upon to sing (unless the program is the annual 'benefit performance'). If they are not needed, they are granted free admission to the concert.
Rejection – You may not be invited to join the Chorus because of a variety of reasons: most commonly an incompatible timbre for the existing blend of the ensemble, inadequate sight reading skills, or insufficient vocal training. We recognize that this is a most disappointing result, and do not wish to discourage you from choral singing. The Chamber Chorus produces a guide to some of the other choral groups available, in the hope that your interest will find its reward in one of the fine groups that St. Louis has to offer.
Note: If you auditioned for the Chamber Chorus but were not offered a full or alternate place, you may apply for a second audition, provided that you show, in advance and in writing, how you have addressed the problems that led to the original rejection. Such re-auditions are offered entirely at the discretion of the Artistic Director, based on the current needs of the ensemble as determined by the Artistic Director, and are subject to the availability of a suitable time for the audition.
The Chamber Chorus rehearses on Monday nights, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m., with a dress rehearsal scheduled for the Saturday preceding each Sunday afternoon performance. All Chamber Chorus rehearsals are generally closed to the public, to afford the musicians the greatest level of concentration and confidentiality. Anyone wishing to attend one of our rehearsals must apply in writing in advance of the rehearsal, and state his/her reason(s) for wishing to attend. Permission may or may not be granted at the discretion of the Artistic Director and the Board of Directors. Please mail such requests to SLCC, P.O. Box 11558, Clayton, MO 63105.